A second problem facing U.S. MNCs results from cultural insensitivity, which typically manifests as corporations fail to recognize the various norms governing other cultures. This misrepresentation can lead to a perception of American arrogance, wherein others view our callous business practices as representative of American disinterest.
Essentially, as the great philosopher George Berkeley noted, esse est percipi, that is, to be is to be perceived. Corporate existence is fundamentally based on its public perception. If the public approves of its business practices, profits will likely increase. If the public disapproves of its business practices, profits will likely decrease. Corporate identity, then, is undeniably tied to public perception.
Thus, U.S. MNCs must recognize that their existence and their ability to earn profits are directly tied to how they are perceived by a global audience. Their global perception must be flexible, as our cultures differ, which requires all U.S. MNCs to reconstruct their corporate identity and marketing practices for each market they enter.
The inability of any U.S. MNC to adapt to the specific expectations of a global market will severely limit its ability to profit from sales or reap the benefits from employing cheap labor. In business, identity is everything, and to undermine the corporate name, is to undermine the corporation.
The corporation is nothing more than an idea used to market products and services. Successful product marketing strategies in the U.S. may not translate to success abroad. Thus, a refusal to adapt the corporate idea to an ever-changing global market is to project an air of superiority.
The problem, however, is that such an air of superiority not only reflects poorly on the various U.S. MNCs abroad, it reflects poorly on the United States of America. To undermine corporate respectability is to undermine American integrity. U.S. MNCs represent more than the products or services they provide, they represent and embody the ideals of Americana.
In that representation, it is of the utmost importance that they recognize how corporate behavior is tied to American respectability. As a brand, America must seek to ensure and safeguard its good name, because like MNCs our existence is contingent on our global perception.